onsdag 25 april 2018

Laws of the Dungeon: Slam & Knockback

In this series I will write about GURPS rules we come across during delves that requires a few readthroughs and usually a few examples and live uses before they're stuck in my GM-head. And maybe a tweak or two. =)

During my last session the knight of the party wanted to body slam a goblin standing in a doorway to push the whole pack back and prevent them from running past him, a perfectly valid action. Since I had only skimmed through Slam-rules once yet I just ruled a successful contest of ST with the goblin will force him back one hex. The real Slam-rules are a little bit more complex than that.


To land a Slam on an enemy roll DX, Brawling or Sumo Wrestling (whichever you like, usually the one that is highest) to hit, ignoring the skillcap imposed by Move and Attack.

If you hit, your intended victim gets an active defence, a successful Dodge makes you run straight through and at least one yard past, if there's a wall right behind the victim, that will spell trouble for you. A successful Parry or Block is a valid defence aswell but has a fair chance of breaking the weapon or shield aswell as still causing Knockback.

The effectiveness of your Slam is calculated using your encumbered Move aswell as your HP (DF Slam is calculated a bit different but equally complicated to I'll stick to Basic rules). I rule that you need to build up at least some momentum to be able to utilize your full Move-score for a Slam, otherwise I would say it's more of a Shove than a Slam. If you start your turn standing still you need at least one yard between you and your victim to use half your Move (keep decimals) and at least two yards to use your full Move (running for more than one turn can increase your Move by 20%, Enhanced Move can make your Slams lethal). The Move score is relative aswell meaning that if you move with 7 yards/turn velocity toward the victim and the victim stepped back 1 yard during his last turn the relative Move will be 7-1 = 6, the opposite is true for a chicken race.

Then you just calculate Slam damage using HP * Relative Move for both attacker and victim (Move will be the same for both parties) and then converting the result to damage-dice using this table:

x < 25 = 1d-3 cr
x < 50 = 1d-2 cr
x < 100 = 1d-1 cr
x < 150 = 1d cr 
x < 250 = 2d cr
etc upwards

Attacker can benefit from AOA: Strong for a bonus of +1 per die, minimum +2), if using a shield you can use that to add the shields DB to your damage and at the same time let the shield absorb the damage to you on impact, this is called a Shield Rush.

The one rolling the least damage has to roll DX to avoid falling down (attacker wins on a tie). If attacker rolls double or more damage then victim falls down automatically. A Slam can also cause Knockback if enough damage is dealt.


If you hit someone with a crushing attack or a cutting attack that does not penetrate DR then that attack can cause the foe can be knocked back by the force of the blow. For every full multiple of the foes ST-2 he is knocked back one yard and has a chance of falling down or colliding with something. For every yard past one the DX-roll to stay on feet gets an additional -1.

Damage from falling

To calculate falling-damage you use the same method as for slam but instead of using the relative move you look up Move in the table below. If the landing is on a hard surface, double HP for the purpose of the calculation.

1 yard = Move 5
2 yards = Move 7
3 yards = Move 8
4 yards = Move 9
5 yards = Move 10

Example: In the above example the Knight (HP 15, Move 5) charged the front Goblin (ST 8, HP 8) who in his turn moved one hex toward the knight. The Knight has a DX-score of 15, he rolls a 9 and hits, the goblin tried to dodge but fails. The total relative Move is 6 which results in a "Slam-score" of 90 for the Knight (1d-1 cr) and 48 for the Goblin 1d-2 cr, the knight also opts using All-Out Attack(Strong) and gets +2 to the roll. The knight rolls a total of 6 while the Goblin rolls 4 which means the Goblin will be Knocked back one yard and has to roll to stay on feet. The Goblin misses his DX-roll to stay on feet and falls down. I rule that all falls from standing for Size 0 humanoids equal a one yard fall which can only hit upper body. The landing is on a hard surface which results in a "Slam-score" of 80 (5*8*2, Move 5, HP 8, doubled by hard landing) which means another 1d-1 cr of dmg to the Goblin. The roll is a measly 1 which means the goblins leather armour absorbs it this time. The Goblin will be out of combat for at least two rounds though before getting on his feet again.

måndag 9 april 2018

Dungeon Lifehacks: My tactical hex-board

Last session I finally got to try out an idea I've been thinking about for a long time. The idea is pretty straightforward. Tape together four A4-sheets of hexpaper (or squares for that matter if you're bent that way) and put a thick plexiglass-sheet on top. If you have access to A3 or A2-paper that would be even better. Then whenever it's time for battle you can just use whiteboard markers to outline walls and doors, later on I hope to get my hands on some props aswell to fill the rooms with aswell as put some paint on the monsters. And later later on, when I have my own hobbyroom and my kids are big enough to help me out, this might be an option. =)

It worked surprisingly well, using a more permanent marker than whiteboard works aswell but then you need a solvent to clean it after each battle is finished.

The battleboard in action! In the background there's a sheet for keeping track of armour and injuries that will be the subject of a future Dungeon Lifehacks-post

söndag 8 april 2018

Play Session 02, KotB 02: A visit to the Hobgoblin restaurant

After finally finding a date which most of my players could attend they set off for another delve, this time scheduled for a whole day instead of just a half like last time.

Boerge the Beef, Human Thug, 253 points
 - Sture the Stone, Human Guard, 62 points
 - Benny the Bee, Human Weapon Caddie, 62 points
Amore son of Casanova, Human Duelist, 250 points
Honest Ernst, Human Ranger, 253 points

First off, I took a moment or two to let Amore account for his actions during the week that had passed since the rest of the party last saw him (he missed the first session so I thought I'd give him a chance to present himself while the other two were occupied with spending the XP they recieved last session). While the rest of the group gathered some minor quests and rumours in town and then set off to scout the caves he basically set off on a path of seduction, starting off with the tavernkeepers daughter. When she agreed to take him on a walk and show him the keep surroundings he snubbed her to spend the night with a warrior woman named Steira that he met on the caravan. On the next day he finally met with the keep commander like Boerge had done the day before and among other things promised him not to touch his daughter. Then he went to the travellers inn to look for Steira again but got the attention of the stableboy Godrick who after some flirting took take him for a romantic ride on one of the stables horses outside the castle. Amore was careful not to take it further though for the time being and kept his distance to all of them until the party came back.

When they were back from the first delve a week of rest was sorely needed for Ernst though who had hurt his arm in a brawl with some rats, after a few days he also got down with the sewer rot which was swiftly cured by Father War who in turn he got sick and could not follow the party out on their second delve. They gathered a few more more bits of information about the Caves but not much they didn't already know. When they left the first time the rain was pouring down and they quickly decided to go back, rest another day (paying another $20 upkeep each) to see if the weather was better the next day, it was! They decided to use the same campsite as they had done the last time but when Ernst scouted it out he was spotted by a couple of undead that seemed to be guarding the place. Not wanting to take any risks or get into any unneccessary fights they decided to set up camp a bit further down the road instead.

The next day they walked for another few hours, camouflaged their wagon about an hours march from the Caves and set Sture to guard it and then walked the last hour. Ernst failed his Observation-roll and saw nothing out of the ordinary down the slopes of the old stripmine. Boerge critfailed his Strategy-roll which resulted in them running straight down the slope to get to one of the south side entrances. Ernst fell on the way down but didn't hurt himself, a few surprised gnolls at another entrance about twenty yards away growled and stared with beady eyes at them as they ran by.

Inside the entrance a cavern opened up with further openings in all directions. In the mud covering the floor at the entrance to the cave footprints of small, humansized and big humanoids could be seen. From the left opening there was steps carved out in a slope leading downward, the party started down but turned around when they heard noice coming from the middle one, they also heard a snoring, growling sound from down the steps similar to the ones in the owlbear cave. Back in the entrance cavern they met a group of goblins on patrol which they made short work of: Boerge smashed a face in with his flail, Ernst pierced the throat of another with an arrow, a third one hacked down by a flurry of blows from Amores shortswords. The rest of the goblins broke and started fleeing, one of them got shot in the leg but two were heard running down a flight of stairs further inside the middle cave. Now the party went back to the steps they'd started down before they were interrupted, on their way down a sour odour was spreading and when they had Ernst peeking inside the opening at the end of the steps the only thing he noticed was the contour of a sleeping bear beside piles of tattered cloths and animal bones. They decided to let that particular cave be for the time being and headed back up towards the entrance.

Goblinfight starts, cave entrance is to the left.

Instead of following the fleeing goblins they noticed a skull of a humanoid hanging from the wall in the third opening which proved to be a passage with additional skulls leading to a robust door without a lock. On the door was a message written in broken common: "Welcom! We woud lav to hav you for diner.". The group failed to read this as anything else than an invitation to a restaurant, possibly even giving away the food for free and ensthusiastically knocked on the door and a wierd conversation ensued (Disadvantages such as No Sense of Humor, Honesty, Gullibility and Overconfidence doesn't help in these kinds of situations).

Throught the door a dark voice asked in passable common:
 - "Ha many?"
 - "Four"
 - "Av' you booked reservations?"
 - "No..."
 - "Am sorry, we only av' room fer two at the moment, you other wait outside."
 - "Okay"
 - "Wa' name shall I put you on?"
 - "Boerge"
 - "Mkay, come in, ba only two o' ya, okay?!"

A bar was lifted on the other side of the door and it was unlocked and a large hobgoblin opened and let Boerge and Benny in and barred the door behind them. Around this moment Boerge and Benny finally realized that it might be a trap and told the bouncer politely that they wanted to leave again, he refused and told them to move on in to the cloakroom to get their weapons and armour checked in. When Boerge tried to force himself out he shouted "Guards!" and another two hobgoblins with crossbows pointed at Benny showed up from the "cloakroom". Benny convinced Boerge it was useless to resist and they started giving away their weapons while commenting on the bad service of the establishment. Meanwhile Amore and Ernst heard the commotion from the other side of the door and knocked again, the bouncer unbarred and unlocked the door, inched it open and asked what all the fuzz was about. They asked if they could at least see the menu while waiting but he told them to wait for their turn and slammed the door shut but forgetting to lock and bar it. Ernst took a peek inside and now realized that Boerge and Benny were being taken captive and decided to engage the bouncer that had turned back to face Boerge.

The bouncer was taken out quick with two consecutive bodkin arrows in the back from point blank range while a disarmed Boerge took a bolt straight through the hand of his shield arm, crippling it and continuing through the chainmail into his abdomen, ouch! Before he had time to fight back he took another blow to the same hand from a dogslicer while Amore ran straight through the pack and made short work of the other crossbowman (first his three hits barely made a scratch, then we realized he'd forgot to add bonus damage to his shortswords from Weapon Master which resulted in an unconscious hobgoblin instead). The guard with the dogslicer held his ground well for a good five turns using a shield and incredibly good active defence rolls to enable two guards behind him throw a few spears, none finding a target though. When his shield finally broke he was put down and the fight ended with the crossbowman who shot Boerge begging for mercy but recieved none, his face was duly slammed in by Boerges flail.

Boerge put his shield back on and recieved some quick treatment on his hand from Ernst, Benny had to use Serendipidy to find a used first aid kit in the room since noone in the party had brought one. After inspecting another closeby door (it was locked), they started discussing just taking what was on the guards (which wasn't much more than their weapons basically, they had a few gold coins though) and leaving, I was nice and informed Boerge about his Forced Entry-skill which he made instant use of, forcing the weak door open and finding the Hobgoblin Armory, all of a sudden there was more loot than they could carry in one go in the form of weapons and armour that seemed to be pretty much all human-made, the prize item being the commanders lost Plate Mail! Just as everyone had entered the armoury the inspect the goodies they heard shuffling from further down the corridor, they just managed to get into formation again before another two hobgoblins came at them, they almost immediately drove them back though and when Boerge gave chase he was met with a volley of bolts coming from another guard room at the end of the corridor which he just managed to dodge before diving back into the corridor for safety.

Corridor in the center, barricaded, The fallen bouncer lies by the entrance to the left.
The PC's stand in the armoury with hobgoblins on guard on the upper right side

After that it was late and they decided to barricade the corridor and carry with them as much and as valuable loot as they could carry. They managed to salvage a total of three crossbows, three chainmail shirts which seemed a bit special though noone knew exactly what it was (all the players insisted it was probably mithril), the plate mail and a couple of swords of different kinds. Nothing much happened on the way back except that they went through the forest instead of on the road for the first day and Ernst failed a navigation-roll which made them spend almost a whole extra day getting back. Outside of town they once again met the sickly elf begging and threw him the copper coins they hadn't bothered counting. Inside town they sold all the weapons and one of the chainmails to the armourer who couldn't see that there was anything special with it. Amore asked if any of the other two fit him and one of them did (he has pretty much the same frame as who they were made for so I let it fit him on a five or six on 1d). When the beggar-elf was shown the last chainmail his eyes filled with tears and he explained that it is elf-made and was worn by one of his lost elf-companions when they tried their luck at the caves a few weeks before. He asked if he could keep it and the party first hesitated but then gave in to his teardraped elf-eyes and gave it to him.

Even though they didn't manage to salvage more than maybe one fourth of everything in the armoury the loot was still much better than last time, earning all PC's present three points each and another one from exploring. I also rewarded another point to Ernst player for her roleplaying in getting past the hobgoblin entrance which was a bit wierd but great fun. MVP was also rewarded to Ernst player.

tisdag 3 april 2018

Post-session Report: Session 02

We had another session of delving the Caves of Chaos yesterday and it was pretty eventful. Among the things that happened was:

* We got to know what Amore had been up to while the party was away for the first delve and he was basically up to no good.

* On the way to the caves they found undead where their first campsite had been, ignoring the for the time being

* When they arrived they made lousy observation and strategy-rolls and just decided to run straight into a new cave-opening. Inside they met a troupe of goblins.

* They found another sleeping bear, this time letting it be.

* The made a visit to the Hobgoblin Restaurant, became a little displeased with the service so they decided to leave with the silverwear.

Rules checkups until next session:

* Slam and Knockback-rules

* Walking, striking and shooting through occupied hexes.